The Ministry of Health has rolled out a country-wide exercise to inoculate young children aged five to 11 years old with Covid-19 vaccine. The drive which kicked off on Tuesday, September 20, targets more than two million children in different parts of the country. This is an exercise carried out in some other countries as well. According to recent data, 81 percent of the population are fully vaccinated this is while the country is also administering the second booster dose to high-risk people including those aged 65 and above. The New Times points out five things to know about this new vaccination drive. 1. Type of vaccine being used With about six types of vaccine approved in Rwanda, the government is particularly administering the pediatric formulation of the Pfizer vaccine (10 microgramme/dose) to children. It has been approved by different medical regulatory bodies including Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority. 2. Why vaccinating children is important Statistics from Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) indicate that, as of September 18, among the 132,488 cases of Covid-19 reported in Rwanda, children aged 5 to 11 years were 4,358 representing 3.3 percent of total cases. The rationale is to protect the wider society from further pandemic impacts by closing the immunity gaps in the population, according to Dr. Lt Col Tharcisse Mpunga, State Minister in charge of Primary Healthcare. “In addition to that, it reduces circulation of virus in the community and limits the risk of further outbreaks in both healthy people and those vulnerable to severe Covid-19 such as pregnant women and older adults.” 3. Number of doses According to RBC fact sheet about the vaccination of children, Pfizer vaccine pediatric formulation is given as a shot in the muscle of the upper arm or in the thigh of a young child. It is administered in two doses at four to eight-week intervals between both doses. 4. Parent’s consent needed For the target children, just as those under 18 years old, their parents or guardians must approve prior to their inoculation. Vaccination will mainly be done at schools and the Ministry of Health is working with schools to ensure children pick up the consent forms, take them to their parents to sign and return them to schools or at the designated vaccination centers. 5. Effects of Covid-19 vaccines on children Covid-19 typically causes less severe illness and fewer deaths in children and adolescents compared to adults, however, they remain susceptible to it and may transmit the virus to others. According to WHO, like any vaccine, Covid-19 vaccines can cause side effects, although many people do not experience them. The vast majority of side effects are mild and short-lived. They can include pain where you received the injection, tiredness, fever, chills, nausea, or a headache. However, RBC has assured the public of vaccine safety saying that none of the vaccines affect or interact with the DNA and vaccines do not contain preservatives, antibiotics, medicines or therapeutics, tissues, food proteins, metals or latex.